When folks meet…


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January 12, 2017 12:00 AM

From Lloydminster’s early days of “social events, petitions, fundraising and threshing rings,” meeting and working together is an age old custom.
Before the railroad’s arrival in 1905, most of the necessary supplies for the Barr Colony came by way of the North Saskatchewan River aboard scows arriving at Hewitt’s Landing. 
Supplies were then loaded onto wagons pulled by teams of horses or oxen and freighted to town. These same scows were often broken up and used for construction, including building benches for the log church.
Other supplies were hauled overland from Edmonton, Saskatoon and North Battleford a great distance away.
Rev. George Exton Lloyd was the minister for the Anglican log church built in 1904. Aiding in the cost of its construction, members of the congregation each paid for a log of which their name was carved into.
Before it was completed, church services for the community were held in a tent at the aptly named Headquarters Camp. School classes were initially held here until another location was found.
Once completed, the town and village buildings were often multi-purpose to serve the community’s needs.
The Barr Colonists initially established a field hospital to meet medical necessities. Dedicated women also provided nursing services in their own homes.  A push was set in motion to establish a permanent hospital which became reality in 1912. Built in 1960, a number of original Barr Colonists called the Pioneer Lodge home.
Named after the royal newborn, the Prince Charles Hotel built in the late 1940s is still a familiar sight on the Meridian.
Later renovated by its new owners circa 1961, the 54 room hotel now boasted 30 television sets, wall to wall carpeting and later an air conditioning system in the licensed beverage area. Other features included a barbershop, ladies salon, and café.
In 1955, general admission prices at the Empress Theatre ranged from 25 to 75 cents.
The feature show, “There’s No Business Like Show Business” was offered in color.
A special promotion during the July fair, “The Outlaw Stallion” also included Walt Disney’s True Life Adventure “Water Birds” and animated cartoons.
The Rio Theatre was closed for the summer months except for Saturday matinees. Located two and-a-half miles south of the Meridian, the C & H Drive-in offered features for all ages.
Shows started at dusk, snacks were available and all were encouraged to avoid the rush and come early.
Founded by the community in 1914, the Lloydminster and District Agricultural Co-operative Association Ltd. assured the pioneers quality products, services and savings.
Completely renovated in 1960, the main shopping centre was considered the most modern department store between Edmonton and Saskatoon.
Operated by Maw Whaw and associates, the New Royal Café opened in the late 1920s.
After new ownership, this popular business saw many new changes with its hotel and café area.
Additional rooms were added upstairs to accommodate out-of-towners. The tantalizing menu including “Broasted” chicken was varied and satisfying for all those dining out making them feel more at home.
A Credit Union was organized at a Town Hall meeting in 1943 for the purpose of providing services to its members.
Basically a self-help organization, with their savings providing capital for member loans, they operated democratically.
Opening initially as a Beauty Salon in the Ellis Pharmacy in 1943, Hobart Fashions Ltd. was created in conjunction with this business. The store was eventually remodelled to include men’s wear and the latest décor. All styles were carefully chosen with their customers’ needs in mind.
The Danish Bakery with its emphasis on home baked flavour opened circa 1961 by a couple originally from Denmark.
Interestingly, they were qualified to take on apprentices attending the Alberta Institute of Technology on their way to become qualified bakers.
Mr. Bjornholt had previously won a scholarship enabling him to become a first class chef and pastry baker; a fine example of paying it forward in his new community.
After all, it’s really just a simple formula.
A harvest starts with the planting of a seed…a flourishing community starts with a collective spark… then grows by folks meeting and working together. Living as a pioneer is not over, but rather continues on into present day.

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